With increasing workloads and the need to do more with less, stress in the workplace is on the rise.
Procurement professionals are no exception to feeling under pressure, as our feature on avoiding burnout explores, it’s critical to think about your own mental wellbeing.
With that in mind, here are 15 top tips from procurement professionals and leadership experts on how they avoid stress and burnout in high-pressure environments…
1. Believe in your strengths and ability. Be ok with being uncomfortable and not having all the answers from time to time, you are only human.
2. You are never a hero or villain. Remember, when things go well it is due to the team, support and favourable circumstances around you. You are not a hero. Equally when things don’t go so well, don’t hold all of the blame close to you. Seek feedback, learning and development. Move on and bounce back.
3. Make time for family, friends, doing things you love and exercise. For me, every challenge seems more achievable after a family pizza/pasta and a football match in the garden with my two boys (four and seven) and a quick jog.
Philip Hicks, European procurement director, Formica
4. Know your limits. Don’t take on more than you can do. No one will thank you if you don’t deliver anything.
5. Communication. Have an open dialogue with your line manager. Flag up any issues early.
6. Switch off. At the end of the week, step away and give yourself some breathing room to recharge. If you keep going you will burnout.
Sam Bugden, procurement development manager, Specsavers
7. Get in touch with your own relationship with mental health. As a leader, when you hear about mental health do you have an ignorant and intolerant relationship with it, or have you investigated this issue to gain better knowledge?
8. At your next team meeting have a conversation about mental health. There’s a lot in the media about the subject, so just start the conversation.
9. When you are ready, share your story. This could be about yourself, a friend, your daughter, just make sure you have the permission from the person to share. The more stories are shared the more we normalise the subject of mental health.
Geoff McDonald, co-founder, Minds@Work and former VP HR, marketing, communications, sustainability and talent at Unilever
10. Give yourself space. In the supply chain speed is of the essence, it’s a treadmill and there never seems to be time to recover. There are times when you have to perform 50% above the baseline to cope. But you can’t do that all the time. You need periods of rest and to step back a little. Top performers give themselves time to reflect by building in blocks of time in their diaries.
11. Tap into your emotions. Procurement is often a problem-solving function, driven by intellect. But the art of managing sustainability is in a large part about emotions. Find a quiet place and ask what you are feeling deep down, then what it feels like under that, and then under that and express these feelings overtly rather than trying to supress them. My challenge is, if you are sceptical, then just try it – it will only take 10 minutes.
12. Have clear goals and ruthlessly prioritise. Learn to delegate and develop your personal operating system – your set of personal habits, rhythms and disciplines you bring to bear to try to get things done in the most productive way rather than jumping from one thing to another ineffectively.
Derek Draper, CEO of CDP Leadership Consultants and author of Create Space: How to Manage Time, and Find Focus, Productivity and Success
13. My number one tip would be physical fitness. Look at your physical health and movement. When you are consistently doing sports a lot of other positive benefits come, you start to get interested in your nutrition, then you start to look at whether you are getting proper sleep and so on. It really helped me – I’m 42 now and feel like my energy level is better than when I was 22.
14. Have a positive mindset. How you deal with change and embrace change. I do a lot of conversations to myself when negative things happen, to say that I don't victimise myself. In those tough situations, just stay positive, just say, "okay, this is something may be happening for good” and be optimistic. Keep calm, reflect and then act.
15. Have some sort of social network, whether it’s your friends, family or peers at work, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Aamir Shaukat, head of global procurement (CPO), Jacobs Douwe Egberts